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Frequent flyer? Planning a trip in the near future? Many credit cards offer points on eligible purchases for various frequent flyer programs, including Cathay Pacific points.

If you’re already using a credit card regularly, for everyday or just larger expenses, having a card that also earns you frequent flyer points could help you to partially, or even entirely, fund your next flight.

What are credit card reward points?

Reward points are frequently offered as a credit card perk or benefit, in partnership with a particular frequent flyer program, such as Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Qantas Frequent Flyer or Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer.

Points are earned on eligible purchases (most everyday transactions), often at a rate of 0.5, 1 or even 2 points per dollar spent. These points can then be used to fund flights, upgrades, accommodation and other experiences.

What are Cathay Pacific points and how do I earn them?

Cathay Pacific points are earned through the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program. The easiest and most efficient way to earn these points, as with all airline reward programs, is through Cathay Pacific and their partner airlines’ flights. However, if you’re not taking a flight every few weeks but still want to build up a good reserve of air miles, a credit card rewards program might be your next best option.

Unlike other frequent flyer programs, there is no dedicated credit card available in Australia that will earn you Cathay Pacific Asia Miles specifically. However, there are several Australian banks that offer credit cards with the Asia Miles program as a transfer partner. This means that you can “exchange" the reward points you have earned on your credit card for air miles, which can then be redeemed via the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program. More detailed information can be found on the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles page.

How do I spend Cathay Pacific Points?

Cathay Pacific points are known as Asia Miles, and can be redeemed for flights, hotels, car rentals and many other experiences. One of the most cost-effective ways to redeem air miles is by using them for flights.

You can book flights using your Asia Miles on Cathay Pacific flights, as well as any of the oneworld alliance partner airlines.

Remember, Asia Miles are valid for three years from the original date accrued. So if you were planning on saving up your Asia Miles for a few years to help fund a big trip, make sure you have your eye on the expiry date.

What routes does Cathay Pacific fly?

Cathay Pacific has a global network, and flies to cities throughout the Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Some of the most common destinations from Australian cities include Hong Kong, Nanjing, Taipei, London, Manila and Seoul.

But don’t forget, you can redeem your Asia Miles points through any oneworld alliance partner airline, including Qantas, British Airways, Japan Airlines and Finnair.

Which other airlines have frequent flyer programs?

In Australia, the two big players of the frequent flyer programs are Qantas Frequent Flyers and Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyers. However, Australian travellers shouldn’t be afraid to look outside local rewards programs, as you may find even more value with other programs, such as Asia Miles.

Other major airlines with their own rewards programs include Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest and British Airways Executive Club.

What are the pros of credit card reward points?

Depending on which credit card you choose, you may even earn several rewards points per dollar spent. Even though rewards points do not convert dollar for dollar, the thought of being rewarded for buying lunch, groceries or any everyday expenses can be very enticing. Depending on your spending habits, you could start building up a good reserve of points within a few months of switching to a credit card with reward points.

In addition to earning reward points, these types of credit cards usually have other perks included. These might include discounted travel insurance, shopping insurance for purchases made on your credit card, extended warranty and VIP event seating or pre-sales.

Many reward point credit cards also offer discounted rates, or cash-back offers on particular purchases, usually for a limited time. For example, you might spend $100 at a partner restaurant, and receive $30 back to your credit card. These types of offers incentivise spending and create a sense of urgency due to the limited-time nature of the offer.

What are the cons of credit card reward points?

So, what’s the downside to these reward point credit cards? For starters, when you’re looking at a reward points credit card, make sure that you check the annual fee; that’s the amount you have to pay each year just to keep the credit card.

There are some reward point credit cards with a $0 annual fee, but these are few and far between. For some of these cards, the annual fee is hundreds of dollars, a fee rarely so high for other more ‘standard’ credit cards. If there’s a particular credit card you’ve heard about, or are considering, make sure you check the annual fee before making any commitments. Many credit card providers will waive the annual fee for the first year for new customers, so this can make it even easier to miss.

The other potential downside to rewards point credit cards is the interest rates. Reward points credit cards are notorious for high interest rates, usually at or around 20 per cent. If you’re in the habit of not paying off your card in full each month, bear in mind how much interest you’ll be paying. A high interest rate can quickly turn into credit card debt that you could have trouble paying off.

Many rewards point credit cards are also designed for big spenders, hence the high annual fee and interest rates. Some of these cards also come with high minimum credit limits of $10,000 or more. If you’re concerned that access to this amount of credit could make it difficult for you to control your spending, take this into account before committing to a card.

Is a credit card with Cathay Pacific points right for me?

If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and are ready to find a reward points credit card, earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles could very well be a good option.

If you want to earn rewards points to use for flights, and don’t want to be restricted to a preferred airline, Cathay Pacific’s partnership with oneworld gives you the option to choose from more than 20 partner airlines.

However, because there is no specific Cathay Pacific credit card available to Australian consumers, you will need to be willing to keep track of your reward points, and then redeem them for Asia Miles in order to take advantage of this scheme. If you prefer a set it and forget it approach to your spending and reward schemes, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles may not be right for you.

As with all credit cards, it’s important to weigh up the costs and potential rewards before making the best financial decision for you and your circumstances.

Frequently asked questions

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward. 

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

How many numbers are on a credit card?

The numbers on your credit card actually follow a universal standard which is used to identify specific functions. Each credit card has a different amount of numbers. Visa and Mastercard have 16, American Express has 15 and Diner’s Club has 14. 

The first number on a credit card always identifies what type of credit card it is. Visa cards start with a 4, whereas Mastercard starts with a 5 and American Express with a 3. The remainder of the digits represent the account number, including the last number which is used to verify that your credit card is actually valid. 

Credit cards also have additional verification numbers, which are mainly used when the card isn’t present for phone and online purchases. These are the three-digit numbers on the back of Visa and MasterCard or the four-digit numbers on the front of an American Express card.

How do I apply for a credit card online?

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.